What’s the perfect wearable gadget for a walker? It may vary. Some walkers don’t need such an advanced and sophisticated tracking tool as, say, a marathon trainer. On the other hand, some walkers may seek a larger, more sophisticated screen better suited to controlling a wider range of entertainment features such as a podcast, radio or easy-to-use music player while they walk around contentedly.
One thing is certain: most walkers will want something more than just a step counter, which is included with every smartphone sold these days.
So here are three options for different types of walkers.
1. Fitbit Charge 5
Good for: the minimalist gadget
Fitbit’s main calling card is that it doesn’t look like you’re wearing a computer on your arm – it’s a thin band that folds discreetly around your wrist. Its most recent Charge 5 model features a color touchscreen, more advanced health sensors and a slightly larger battery. While its basics (step counting and long battery life) are still there, the Charge 5 (right) has added some more advanced features such as stress testing (via a skin activity sensor) and ECG measurement. Its built-in GPS also means it will work with any smartphone fitness app that gives you a map summary of where you’ve been. And there are also basic notifications synced to smartphones, if you want them. Its only real downside is that the screen is still necessarily small and thin due to its slim form factor.
2. Apple Watch
From 219 €
Good for: the publicized stroller
As well as great walking, fitness and health features, this device adds some extra ‘smart’ features that you might appreciate. For example, if you’re set up on Apple Pay (which is easy to do on your iPhone), you can simply tap your Apple Watch (left) against a store’s contactless card reader to pay for anything . It is also ideal as a music and podcast player, compatible both as a controller and as a download repository for Apple Music, Spotify or Audible. And its screen is by far the best in terms of tapping and visibility. You can even make and receive calls (if your smartphone is in your pocket), thanks to its microphone and speaker.
The Apple Watch’s relative big downside is battery life: due to its advanced features and excellent display, you’ll rarely get more than a day or two per charge.
3. Garmin Forerunner 55
Good for: statistics junkie
For those who want their exercise gadget to flex between their walks and the occasional jog or run, this is the next step up from a traditional slim Fitbit. Garmin’s Forerunner 55 (below) is a great mid-range, user-friendly option for those who dip their toes into the great outdoors. In addition to walking exercises and tracking, it offers a wide range of “regular” exercises and fitness routines, from running, cycling and swimming to activities such as yoga and pilates. It has superb battery life (about 10 days if you go easy on GPS) and supports much of what Garmin’s most expensive fitness training watches offer at less than half the price. . It’s essentially a ‘stripped down’ version of Garmin’s excellent high-end fitness watches.